If the snowshoe fits, wear it
LEADVILLE Snowshoeing is getting easier thanks to a new boot thats like walking on air or powder.The field launch and demo of the FlightBoot is in Leadville Saturday on Harrison Avenue.And since its a Leadville-style launch, you just know theres going to be a foot race quite possibly in a blizzard.The FlightBoot is a cleated overshoe that goes over a running shoe. On the bottom of the shoe are cleats and clips. The clips lock into the Flightdecks, which are about eight inches wide and two feet long. The Flightdecks provide flotation, when needed. There are no straps. There are no buckles. And when runners are on hard-packed trails, the Flightdecks can be held or stowed in a small pack. A fleet of demos will be available for racers Saturday morning.Practiced runners say they can throw down the decks and clip in without breaking stride.This is the first outdoor product designed for the 21st century, said inventor Bill Perkins. Perkins, founder of Red Feather snowshoes.Perkins called the FlightSystem the first innovation in the snowshoe field in 20 years.Perkins originally conceived the FlightSystem in the mid-1990s, he said, but the world was too caught up with snowshoeing to be interested. It took time for snowshoers to realize they were often on hard packed snow. For example, many times at the Nordic Center, he meets up with snowshoers who have taken off their snowshoes on their way to Tennessee Pass Cookhouse.Perkins described the FlightSystem as cycling through snow. When the decks are on, runners use a gait similar to pedaling a bicycle.
FlightBoots retail for about $149. The decks are another $185. The systems are sold separately, because not every one is going to need decks, Perkins said. The FlightSystem isnt just for runners. In fact, he said some people have expressed an interest in just having the boots to navigate winter sidewalks. A lightweight snow navigation system could also be helpful for spring and fall mountaineering, when minute-to-minute weather patterns can dictate the need for snowshoes. Perkins looked to Kahtoola for design and manufacturing and worked with Kahtoola founder Danny Giovale to create the product. Giovale also will be on hand for Saturdays race.After two years in the prototyping phase, The FlightSystem was introduced to runners at the Leadville Trail 100 in August. Perkins said he wanted the first demo to be where the idea for the FlightSystem was born: Leadville.And I had a suspicion we could hold a mid-November demo, Perkins said. A second event is planned for December 16, with more information to follow at Kahtoolas Web site at http://www.kahtoola.com/flight-boot.html. There will be FlightSystem demo races throughout the west, Perkins said.If the local events go well and it probably will Perkins said Kahtoola might get more involved with Leadville. Perkins pointed out that the first snowshoe race in Leadville attracted a whopping eight people. Since then, races have grown to hundreds of runners.Staff Writer Renee Davis can be reached at 719-486-3666 or email@example.com.Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado CO